Posted by: Jessica Cornelius
We still had a few more services to go on Easter Sunday a few years ago when one of our most dedicated and amazingly gifted vocalists walked off the stage, took her microphone off, and walked out the door. She had been serving at Bay Area Fellowship since she was in student ministry. Something had transpired that left a lot of hurt in its wake and our friend Chynna left her church, her friends and yes, us. We took it personally, like most pastors do, and grieved over the loss of Chynna and her family.
Over time, God began to work on Chynna’s heart and last year she apologized to Bil and I for harboring hurt and unforgiveness. It was such a brave act, as well as a humble one. This Easter, Chynna will be singing her heart out on our stage, exactly 4 years after she walked off of it. I say this so that you will be encouraged that God does restore relationships (even years later) that you never would have expected. Not only did God restore Chynna to our church family, he restored her marriage. When we are obedient, we never know the many lives that it will affect. If Bil and I had chosen to be hardened towards her or make her feel like she wasn’t welcome back, it would have impacted so many lives that God has since brought healing.
I’ve learned the importance of keeping an open heart and mind to those that have left our church. We, as leaders, need to be humble enough to accept an apology and be brave enough to trust again. None of us are perfect and with the enemy’s help, unforgiveness can create a stronghold that disrupts the flow of God’s Spirit in our ministries. The danger zone for any Christian is offense and the enemy would have us destroy one another so that we remain in bondage.